Leaders of Singapore’s opposition parties rallied in front of the prime minister’s office in protest against their nation’s failure to take decisive action against the Burmese military junta’s brutal crackdown on monks and protestors. They were led by Chee Soon Juan, a noted critic, who has been in and out of jail for his vocal public comments about the Singapore government. The group had planned a 24 hour protest and wanted to submit a petition to the government which stated: “We demand that the government open its books of the Government Investment Corporation and Temasek to the people starting with its investments in Burma.” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong did criticize the Burmese junta, but made clear that Singapore intended to maintain its investments and diplomatic relations.
The Burmese military leaders are aware that Singapore, China and India want to invest within their nation seeking access to its natural resources, particularly oil. The world can condemn the military junta, but as long as nations like Singapore maintain relations and continue investing in Myanmar, there is no need to alter policies. In fact, the military thugs probably don’t even mind a few negative words from the prime minister of Singapore because they understand it’s for show and tell to prove to the world it cares. There is a cynicism among many Asian leaders which results in abasement of rights in Myanmar.